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Dry land beckons for Kengo Kuma's V&A waterfront outpost in Dundee

The proposed £45 million V&A museum in Dundee by Kengo Kuma and Associates looks set to be moved inland to keep it on budget

The competition-winning scheme, which was rubberstamped by Dundee City Council last month (AJ 18.09.2012), was originally designed to sit just off the waterfront, south of Craig Harbour, in the River Tay.

However the practice has revealed new proposals which will see it brought onto the the dockside with only the `prow’ of the building extending over the waterfront. The reworked scheme would instead occupy the western half of the soon-to-be demolished Olympia leisure centre.

The latest plans are still to be considered by the Design Dundee board, which will make a final decision on the proposal.

Philip Long, director of the V&A at Dundee, said: ‘[This design] gives us greater certainty with regards to the building schedule while retaining the quality of the overall design, which is absolutely paramount.’

Commenting on the move, an ‘unsurprised’ Alan Dunlop of Glasgow-based Alan Dunlop Architects said: ‘There was always a concern about how such an architecturally ambitious project could be funded within the stated budget. I’m mainly disappointed though for Sutherland Hussey, who’s submission was also excellent but for me had a better understanding of context but also driven by meeting the competition budget.’

One competition entrant, who wished to remain anonymous, described the move as ‘shortsighted’ saying that a ‘premier league cultural institution with a global brand should be looking at the 100 to 200 year view’ and that keeping it in the water would be ‘a much more imaginative magnet internationally’.

The AJ predicted back in December 2010 that Kengo Kuma’s original scheme would not be brought in within budget without a rethink.

The Japanese architect, who is working with Scotland’s cre8architecture and Arup, was selected unanimously from an impressive six-strong shortlist to land the contest in November 2010.

The losing finalists included Steven Holl Architects with JM Architects, Viennese practice Delugan Meissl Associated Architects, New York-based REX with Urban Splash, Snøhetta with Gareth Hoskins Architects and a team led by Sutherland Hussey Architects in collaboration with 3DReid, AECOM and Gross.Max.

At the time Kuma’s vision was described as ‘bold and ambitious, but buildable and practical’.

Construction work is expected to begin on the new V&A building in 2013.

The architect’s view

Maurizio Mucciola, of Kengo Kuma and Associates, said: ‘We’ve made some changes to the site plan, in full consultation with our project team. While retaining the original concept of our project and the qualities of the building, the new site plan will tighten the relationship of V&A at Dundee with the river and the city centre, and help connect the two with a sequence of quality public spaces around the building.’

Construction of V&A at Dundee is expected to begin in 2013. The successful completion of a new swimming pool at East Whale Lane will allow the imminent demolition of the Olympia centre and clearance of the site, ready for work to begin on V&A at Dundee.

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